Online financial marketplace BankBazaar.com which lets you search across all top financial institutions of India and get instant customized rate quotes on loans and insurance products raised Rs.80 crores in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Walden International, their existing investor also participated in this round.
Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.com told YourStory that the funding will arm the company better to educate consumers about its unique 7-minute loan approval process, as well as launch a new portfolio of insurance and savings products, get new banks on their platform and grow its mobile platform. “Initially, our focus was to inform banks about the solution and encourage them to put all the information out there so that customers can find all they need at a go and reach out to banks. But now, we are at Phase 2, where banks are directly reaching out to us and asking about how they can get on BankBazaar. So the scenario has changed from the banks’ perspective,” Adhil told us.
Presently, they offer services of nine banks. They also have a mobile product accessible on smartphones. “We are also launching new services like fixed deposits and insurance. Among the 1,200,000 visitors we had, about 15% were from mobile in June 2013. We expect that the large chunk of the overall pie will soon come from mobile. I request all YourStory readers to check out our mobile site; within two minutes you can see what the real-time quotes on car loans are,” Adhil said.
The BankBazaar USP
Most online financial portals operate on a referral mode where they capture phone numbers and sell them to different banks and agents. But BankBazaar.com offers real time approval for loan applications – this is a big plus vis a vis oft-used offline channels like brokers, dealers and agents who take at least seven days to process applications.
The market is huge, bigger than Rs.4,00,000 crores. So obviously consumers have a huge array of financial products to choose from, and for it is quite a tough choice to pick the best. Here is where BankBazaar comes in. They help consumers navigate the crowded market and lead them to the right product. Their goal, they say is to “make it easy for everyone to get a great deal on a loan, savings or an insurance product.” And best of all, BankBazaar.com’s services are completely free.
What do consumers want?
According to Adhil, most number of searches are for home loans and personal loans. That’s where the numbers are climbing the fastest as well. The other growing categories are car loans and credit cards. “Car loans are the hardest as people don’t realize that dealers make a 2% commission. At BankBazaar, they would at least be aware of what the best rates are.
The new funds, he says, will go into three things mainly. First to hire more talent. Right now they have 150 full-time employees and 60 consultants. “We hire very smart engineers from Amazon, Microsoft, and so on. We are aggressively pushing on that. We are also building our online marketing team. We expect to double in the next two years.” Second is to increase awareness among the customers. “Currently, we are the only brand that gets users multi-bank approvals in 7 minutes. There are many other services that sell users mobile numbers and contact details, we do not do that. We share your details only with the banks that you have applied to,” Adhil said. The third focus is to aggressively launch new products.
“Eventually goal is to take the company to IPO. But the journey depends at the end of the day on one happy customer. Best advertising for your brand is a happy customer. Everyday we ask ourselves how do we grow our brand sustainably. We have seen internet solve a lot of supply chain issues in travel, then in commodity e-commerce, I think now the time is for financial products,” Adhil said.
– With inputs from Malavika Velayanikal